Zachary Woolfe, “A Circle of Composers, Intimate and Epic”

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“There is an operatic quality coursing through the work of the Second Empire sculptor Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-75), the subject of a powerful exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, through May 26, that inspired a concert of French vocal music at the museum on Saturday evening.

“Look at Carpeaux’s best-known masterpiece, the wrenching ‘Ugolino and his Sons’ based on Dante: Here are both epic scope and intimate detail (those clenched feet!), the combination that 19th-century opera specialized in. It’s no surprise, given the adroitness of his balance between exuberance and restraint, that he was asked to design a relief for the exterior of Charles Garnier’s opera house in Paris. The result, a swirling mass of figures called ‘La Danse,’ fairly explodes off the facade.”    –Zachary Woolfe, “A Circle of Composers, Intimate and Epic,” The New York Times, April 29, 2014

Hypo Chrysos: Xth Sense Technology

marco-donnarumma-hypo-chrysosHypo Chrysos (HC) is a work of action art for vexed body and biophysical media. During this twenty minutes action I pull two concrete blocks in a circle. My motion is oppressively constant. I have to force myself into accepting the pain until the action is ended. The increasing strain of my corporeal tissues produces continuous bioacoustic signals. The sound of the blood flow, muscle contraction bursts, and bone crackling are amplified, distorted, and played back through eight loudspeakers using the biophysical instrument Xth Sense, developed by the author. The same bioacoustic data stream excites an OpenGL-generated swarm of virtual entities, lights, and organic forms diffused by a video projector. The work brings together different media so a as to creatively explore the processes wherein self-perception, effort, and physicality collide. HC is freely inspired by the sixth Bolgia of Dante’s Inferno, located in one of the lowest of the circles of hell. Here, the poet encounters the hypocrites walking along wearing gilded cloaks filled with lead. It was Dante’s punishment for the falsity hidden behind their behaviour; a malicious use of reason which he considered unique to human beings.” [. . .]    —Marco Donnarumma